Monday, December 30, 2019
North Fork Wine Weekend
And it's Monday morning and almost New Year already. Time is definitely flying. Had a nice Christmas. Christmas Eve we saw "Bombshell" and went to Outback for dinner. And on Christmas Day we opened our gifts with family in the morning (didn't go crazy with gifts this year but did receive some nice things, tea, scented candle, a coloring book, wine glasses and a bottle of wine etc) and then went to see "Little Women". After that we hung out at home and watched a Christmas movie (Noelle) and then some more recorded stuff we had on our DVR.
And this past weekend we were away on the North Fork on Long Island visiting our favorite wineries. As always it was a great weekend and we mostly lucked out with the weather too. It was relatively mild and sunny for most of the trip. It did start raining as we were getting ready to leave on Sunday so that made the drive home not that much fun but all in all it was good.
We left home Saturday morning, stopped at Starbucks and got to our first winery, Macari, around 11.10am. Macari is always a lot of fun even though it is one of the bigger wineries. Had a glass there and then continued on to Osprey's Dominion. Been there plenty of times as well. Usually when we go in the off-season, like this weekend, it's quiet and relaxing. When we went in July it was crazy how big of a change it was. But anyway this time it was quiet and we ended up getting a bottle of wine and sat outside where they had a fire going. It was cold but in the sun and near the fire it was actually pretty nice. Then from there we continued on to lunch at a place in Greenport called "First and South". We had never been there before but it was a really good find. I had a bowl of chowder which was absolutely delicious and we also had some bread and shared a burger. All really yummy. From there we continued on to Sparkling Pointe as we wanted to pick up a bottle of sparkling wine for New Year's. Actually ended up with 2 bottles since they had an offer to receive the tasting for free when you buy two bottles. :) And from there we went to Sannino to check out their new building/tasting room. When we went there the last time, probably a year ago, they were still in a really small space but had shown us their blue prints for the new tasting room they were going to open so that was neat to check out. And well from there we continued on to our last stop at One Woman WInery. We had never been there before and it really was a fun find. Very small tasting room but they do have some outdoor space for the nicer months as well. They had a Gruener Veltliner (the only winery on the North Fork to offer one apparently) and the people there were fun to talk to. So yeah, definitely a good find.
After all the wineries we headed to our hotel (Indigo) in Riverhead. This time I had booked through Snaptravel which proved a little challenging with them finding our reservation but they did locate it and all was well in the end. The rate we received was great ($109 incl. breakfast) so it was worth the little hassle. :) Anyway freshened up in our room and then went downstairs and hung out at the bar for a bit. They also had live music which was pretty fun. A nice way to end the night.
Then yesterday, Sunday, we had breakfast. Their breakfast buffet really isn't anything great and I wouldn't pay for it but with it being included it worked out to get a little something in our stomachs before heading out to more wineries. Our first stop of the day was Paumanok. They have a really pretty rustic wooden deck area outside overlooking the vines and even though it was a bit chilly we decided to sit outside in the sun for a bit anyway. From there we continued on to Clovis Point. They also have an outdoor area but they must heat it during the winter (it's semi enclosed) so it was nice and cozy. After that we headed to Lenz. When we pulled in I knew we had been there before but sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the different wineries and which one is which. The last time we had been there it was during the winter when it had just snowed and the whole place looked like a winter wonderland with a covered bridge type entrance and a cute courtyard. Anyway the plan originally was to get come cheese as a snack for lunch but they actually had sold out of their cheese. So we just had some wine and then ended up going to lunch at a place nearby called Red Rooster. What a great accidental find. Mike had shrimp dumplings and I ordered a ham, brie and tomato sandwich and both were absolutely delicious. It being off season it was very quiet as well. From there we headed to our last and final stop - Coffeepot Cellars. Definitely our favorite winery - partly because of the cute pug Beasly and also the sweet people running the place. It's a small winery but always fun to hang out. So many stories and always fun to catch up.
Like I said the ride home wasn't too great due to the rain but we made it back a little before 7pm so really not so bad. Stopped at Two Steps and met our friend John there for a bit before heading home. And well here we are, it's Monday again. Really not looking forward to work but hey what can you do right? Tomorrow for New Year's Eve we just half a day and then off for New Year's Day so that will break up the week again. While I am looking forward to some more time off I do have to say that the holidays in the middle of the week are totally messing with my inner system and schedule. It's hard to keep track what day it actually is. Well anyway, I guess better get on with it and face the week. Right?
Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Nina/WA.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
And it's Christmas Eve ...
Christmas Eve already. Where has this year gone? Really crazy. But then I do say this every year but this year it feels like the year has flown by especially fast somehow. But anyway, it's a nice day today. Sunny, cool but not freezing cold. It has warmed up a bit these past few days so all the ice finally melted. After our ice storm it was super cold for almost a week straight so none of the ice really ever melted. All the trees and grass and surfaces were all coated in ice for a week straight. I will admit that it did look a bit more Christmassy when everything was coated in white outside but I will trade that for being able to walk outside and down our outside stairs without having to worry about breaking my neck. lol.
Over the weekend we went to see the new Star Wars movie which I did enjoy. I am not a huge Star Wars fan but do enjoy the movies. Friday was our Christmas party at work and that was also a lot of fun. Always entertaining. And Sunday, let's see what did we do Sunday? I think Sunday was mostly just a relaxed day. Oh yeah, Mike got the oil changed on the car and then we had lunch at Flipside in Fairfield. With a stop at Centrico to drop off some gingerbread for our friends afterwards.
And today it's Christmas Eve already. Work has pretty hectic yesterday, covering for a co-worker who took the week off, plus trying to get a bunch of stuff done before being off for two days. It is nice having the 24th and 25th off. A three day work week definitely can't be complained about. I do have a feeling Thursday and Friday will be a bit nuts again but we shall see. Maybe it will be quiet. One can hope right?
Anyway today I finally wrapped all of the gifts. Just waiting for one more gift card that is coming in the mail later and then I am done. Also finally finished unpacking all the suitcases/luggage from our Europe trip. Yeah I know, we have been back for a bit now but somehow I just didn't get around to it yet. So finally took care of that today. In a little while we'll go see "Bombshell" at the theater. Also going to brave Stew Leonard's to pick up some shrimp cocktail and veggies/dip for tomorrow. And then dinner at Outback.
No huge plans for tomorrow either. We will open gifts with my sis-in law and my niece and nephew around 10. Then we are going to see "Little Women" later. And will just relax the rest of the day, eat and catch up on some TV.
Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Nina/WA.
Monday, December 16, 2019
Low Key Movie Weekend
Already Monday again. I don't even know how that happens. We already made it through our first week back in the US. Got back last week on Sunday. All went pretty smooth with the flight (some annoying fellow passengers but hey that's about normal I guess) and immigration took forever (also nothing unusual I guess) so all in all ok. Then we headed back to work on Monday. And of course our system at work went down for almost the whole day on Monday which didn't help with me needing to catch up. I did manage to mostly get caught up throughout the week. Well, let's see what this week brings? A lot of people are taking days off between now and Christmas so it's a bit of a hectic time.
The weekend was pretty low key all in all. We went to the movies twice (saw "Knives Out" on Saturday and "the new Jumanji" movie on Sunday) and other than that just went to lunch/brunch and caught up on some recorded TV. Nothing crazy. Saw some friends and were able to drop off some gingerbread/cake and chocolate care packages. We always end up with way too much stuff when we travel to Europe so it's nice to share with everybody when we are back.
Can't believe we are only a little over a week away from Christmas. I am really not ready. I have sort of figured out most of the gifts now but am waiting for everything to get delivered and then need to wrap. The Europe trip definitely put me behind with a lot of my organizational stuff. I did manage to write my Christmas cards prior to us leaving though so that was good. It's funny too because some people received them within a few days and others have just received them now. The postal system really is wonky at this time of the year. My US packages I only mailed this past Friday (wanted to include some things I bought in Europe) so hopefully all those will make it where they need to go in time as well.
Missed a storm while we were away which I am not unhappy about. Now tonight there is supposed to be a front moving in and my main concern with that one is that it is supposed to be freezing rain/ice on top of the snow. Ugh. I absolutely hate that. I guess we'll see what tomorrow morning brings when we wake up. I do have the option of working from home if it's really bad but I do try to get to the office if possible. I guess will just need to wait and see what it's actually like tomorrow morning. Ugh.
Letter/Mail Update: Letters went out on Friday to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Carmen/Malta. I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Nina/WA.
Saturday, December 07, 2019
Can't believe it is already our last night in Europe again. Why do vacations fly by sooo fast? Our flight leaves out of Split airport at 7.30am (ugh - too early) We do have a 3 hour layover in Munich so we at least should have some time to sit and grab something to eat and drink while there. We get into NY/JFK at 3.40pm. And then Monday morning it's back to work and reality. Well going to hold on to the vacation feeling for tonight and our travel day tomorrow before facing reality just yet. :)
Croatia has been a blast and we have mostly lucked out with the weather too. Zagreb was a bit of a washout but the rain did stop at one point so we were able to enjoy the Christmas markets and night time atmosphere without getting further drenched.
The drive to Zadar was fine and we had a nice time there. Beautiful sunny day by the coast. Had enough time to walk around, snap pictures and have a delicious lunch and some drinks. The hotel (Bastion) was really nice even though we did have some trouble finding it at first. Due to some construction and road closures it could only be accessed via an one-way road. We did manage eventually and all was fine.
Then on Wednesday we were off to Dubvronik and the weather was great for the 2 days we were there. Couldn't have asked for more. On Wednesday when we got there after checking into our hotel (Lero) we walked into the old town and walked around the old city walls. Quite a bit of a climb at times but definitely worth it. Great views of the ocean, coastline as well as the city and rooftops. Super pretty. After our walk we wandered around the old walled town and checked out some more sights. Had dinner at a delicious seafood restaurant and some wine at a neat wine bar afterwards. Then took a cab back to the hotel as we decided we were tired of walking. :)
Thursday we took a trip into Bosnia to a little town called Trebinje which was only about 35-40 min. away. Had lunch there and walked around for a bit. Definitely a little adventure as it wasn't really a town American tourists would be expected. But we managed to have a delicious lunch and enjoyed ourselves before heading back to Dubvrovnik. More seafood for dinner in the old town.
Yesterday, Friday, we drove back up to Split. The weather has been a bit iffy but not too bad. Our hotel (Marul) is really close to the center which also proved a bit interesting with driving and parking but again all worked out ok in the end. Walked around and took in the sights of the old town and also had a yummy lunch at a pizzeria and some delicious wine at a wine bar. And today, Saturday, we drove to Trogir, about 35 min. away. Another neat small walled town near the sea. And another place that gets really busy in the summer but as it was off season it was pretty quiet. Still enjoyed ourselves and had more delicious seafood and wine for lunch. Managed to luck out with the downpour of rain mostly too as it rained the most while we were having lunch. Also made a new friend - a cute kitten. :) Been enjoying all the cute cats -- always a sign you are in a warmer climate/Mediterranean country when you start to see a lot of cats around. :)
So just repacked my luggage for tomorrow since our flight is an early one. Then we will head out for our last night here in Croatia. :) Not ready to leave but I guess all goods things do need to come to an end.
Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.
Monday, December 02, 2019
Hello from Europe - Austria Recap
So let's recap our trip so far before I get too far behind. :) We left on Thursday - Thanksgiving. So happy belated to all of my US friends. I hope you all had a nice day. We had a non-stop flight to Austria from NY so that was good. Then went from Vienna to my parent's town in Lower Austria (about 1 hr drive) Had a yummy lunch with them and also did some shopping at a local grocery store. Walked around town for a bit and then up with my parents again for a light dinner/snacks and some drinks at a local restaurant in town. Very long day but fun.
Then on Friday I had an appointment at my hairdresser. After that we headed to lunch at a Heuriger (vineyard restaurant) with my parents and some family friends. And from there we drove back to Vienna and returned the car at the airport. Then took the CAT train into downtown Vienna and checked into our hotel (the Hilton right by the Wien Mitte-Landstrasse stop) Then went straight back out to go to Schoenbrunn Castle to meet up with my friend Barbara at the Christmas market there. Always so pretty. Tons of people of course on a Saturday night but it was still a lot of fun.
Sunday we checked out the Time Travel Vienna museum/exhibit which was cheesy but still kind of neat. Then had lunch at 1516 Brewing Company and later met up with Lydia at Crossfield's. Made one more stop at another brewpub and then headed to the Christmas market in front of the Belvedere. From there went back to the center to take some pictures of St. Stephen's Cathedral and the decorations around there at night. Ended up at an Italian restaurant/bar/bistro for a bit (Il Tempo) which was pretty neat.
And this brings us to today, Monday. Headed back to the airport this morning by train. Ended up there early enough to have time to sit down and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. And were then off on our flight to Zagreb. Rented a car at the airport and then headed to our hotel (Hotel International) It's located just outside the old town so can't complain about the location. The weather was pretty miserable though. Pouring rain and cold. But we powered through and walked into the old town anyway. Had a leisurely lunch at a cafe and dried up a little. Then checked out a quirky museum called "The Museum of Broken Relationships" After that the rain finally died down and we were able to enjoy the various Christmas markets a little more without getting drenched.
Now we are back at the hotel bar relaxing for a bit. Tomorrow it's on to Zadar.
Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.